Shopping for a Nursing Home – Part 3

December 31, 2015

Living in a skilled nursing facility usually means living in a single or double room. You may find a facility that matches most or all of your needs but you may not have any say in what room configurations they have available. So when you tour the facility, evaluate all types of rooms available. Of course, you’ll want to be respectful of the current residents when you visit, but if the room is empty and the bed is made, sit down. Is it comfortable? (Somewhere in the facility will be a bed you can sit on). Is there enough closet and drawer space for what you plan to bring? Is there a comfortable place for you or a visitor to sit, and is the lighting sufficient? Is there a window to provide natural light, and what’s the view like? Are there any signs of water leaks around the windows?

It is also a great idea to look at the technological features of the room. Does each room have climate controls and is properly air-conditioned? Where are the climate controls located? Is there any sort of work surface for you? If there is a private TV, the volume controls and speakers should be placed so as not to interfere with your roommate who may be watching something else. If you use a computer, is there wireless connectivity in the room that you will be able to access? Where is the resident’s laundry kept, how often is it picked up for washing and when it is returned?

Don’t forget to check the bathroom. Most facilities have designated shower areas that are equipped with the necessary space and support for people who may have mobility issues, but each room should have a private bath. Is it clean and stocked? Is it for one room only (shared by two residents) or is it a “Jack-and-Jill” that connects two rooms and is shared by four people?

While you’re looking at rooms, you’ll get a feel for the pace of life at the facility. Are there an inordinate amount of people in bed during the day or are most of the rooms empty? Are there staffers, and nurse’s aides in and out of the rooms and engaging with residents or are the staff interacting more with each other than with the residents? Look at how the rooms are decorated. Nicely decorated rooms indicate an engaged, involved group of residents. When it’s yours, imagine it with your own personal touch – pillows on the bed, a familiar comforter, pictures on the walls and other keepsakes.If you’d like to download our Choosing the Right Facility checklist, click here.

Join us next week for Part 4 of Shopping for a Nursing Home, where we’ll discuss what to look for in the dining room.

Heart. Health. Home.

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